The global insurance industry covered $21bn (£12.7bn) of losses from disasters in the first half of 2014 as fewer natural catastrophes kept claims below their long-term average.
The total economic cost of disasters in the first six months was $44bn of which natural events made up $41bn, figures from Swiss Re, the world's second-biggest reinsurer, showed. More than 4,700 people were killed by natural disasters during the period.
The figure for overall economic costs was down from $59bn a year ago and was less than half the first-half average of $94bn in the last decade.
The $21bn total bill for insurance companies fell from $25bn in the first half of last year and a 10-year average of $27bn. Natural disasters made up $19bn of costs in the first six months of 2014 with manmade events accounting for another $2bn.
Insurance losses hit a record of $116bn in 2011 with most of the losses in the first half when the Japanese earthquake cost the industry $35bn.
The most costly insured events in the first half of this year were the $2.6bn bill for May's thunderstorms and hail in the US and $2.5bn each for storm Ela, which hit France, Germany and Belgium in June, and a Japanese snow storm in February.
The freezing winter that slowed the US economy in January also hit the insurance industry with insured losses of $1.7bn out of total losses of $2.5bn. Heavy flooding caused $4.5bn of losses in Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia and other east European countries but the cost to insurers was "moderate" because of low takeup of insurance, Swiss Re said.
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